Chamber History

2021 – Chair, Kerrie Sheaves

2021 was a challenging year for the Chamber like all businesses as it navigated COVID Lockdowns, moving many our programs online. The Chamber proudly supported its members providing them with essential and reliable information and advocacy as businesses across the region tried to keep their operations going and recovering from the lasting impacts of the pandemic. 2022 was a transformative year for the Chamber as it grew and developed it’s offerings in light of the “new Normal’. The Chamber teams worked hard to deliver consistent connection opportunities for members and guests, leveraging and growing our alliances and relationships beyond the Chamber, including signing a multi-year Alliance head agreement with the Hills Shire Council, and developing collaborations with fellow Chambers and BusinessNSW to continue to further our advocacy and service offerings. 2023 saw strategic planning, streamlining , improvement and enhancement to our operations and member programs, diversifying some of our programs to enable better connection for medium – larger businesses, and the roll out of our Pilot Leadership Pathways program, encouraging more members to take up volunteer leadership and service opportunities within the Chamber.

2020-2021 – Chair, Sonja Palic

This was a most significant year for the chamber. Sonja Palic was elected as Chair, the first female to hold the position in the chamber’s 27-year history. Additionally, 70% of the chamber team was female, demonstrating our commitment to women in leadership. It was also the year that coronavirus swept over the globe, forcing businesses and organisations to re-think delivery of their goods and services. The Board implemented a number of strategies in April to enable us to see the year through, including taking live events and our business operations online. While we lost over 70 members due to the pandemic, we were also able to attract new members. The year closed off with around 380 members in total, and we built a fresh new website.

2018-2019 – Chair, Nigel Raynor

Chamber chair Nigel Raynor implemented a number of new initiatives to broaden the appeal of the chamber to the local business community, including Young and Hungry (YoHu) for entrepreneurs aged between 17-30. He also developed Knowledge Base, a centralised source of information for the chamber. Membership grew to 433 – the largest chamber membership in the Sydney metro region and in the top five chambers in NSW. We won the Western Region Chamber of Commerce of the Year Award in 2018 and 2019.

2015-2017 – Chair, Anthony Moss

Anthony worked with McCrindle to develop the first Business PSI report in 2015, an ongoing survey which provides a longitudinal study of business performance and sentiment in the Hills region. A new website and booking system, Chambermaster, was unveiled. In 2016, the Celebrating Women in Business program was launched. In 2017, we celebrated 25 years in operation. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was a guest at the Chairman’s Lunch in April, and we held a 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner mid-year. Membership grew to nearly 400. We won the Western Region Chamber of Commerce of the Year award in 2017.

2012-2014 – Chair, Tony Eades

In 2012, we celebrated 20 years as the region’s premier business association. The chamber flourished as we attracted new members and our events were well-attended. Our leadership team and board built connections with the Hills Shire Council, NSW Business Chamber, and UWS. During this period of time, we enjoyed a number of highly successful major events, including our first Hills Business Summit. In 2014, the Sydney Hills Business Chamber won the regional award for the best chamber in Western Sydney.

2009-2011 – Chair, Tony Moran

The Support Partnership program enjoyed record financial support. Our members were able to have a voice in the planning of the Norwest Rail Link and our successful submission resulted in a new station to support the growing Norwest Business Park.

In an effort to improve efficiencies and underpin a planned push for member growth we overhauled our complete IT infrastructure. Government funding was instrumental in a range of initiatives to benefit the small business community, and culminated in the highest level of support offered to businesses in the Sydney Hills region.

2006-2008 – President, Tony Moran

New marketing collateral, based on our message of ‘supporting local businesses’, was rolled out and our membership numbers surpassed 300 for the first time.

In 2008, we faced the Global Financial Crisis. Like any business, our chamber found this period quite challenging. However, unfazed by the downturn in the economy, we took on our most exciting transformation to date, with a change of name to Sydney Hills Business Chamber. This necessitated comprehensive rebranding and enabled opportunity to explore every aspect of our operations, ensuring our support matched the new brand and our members’ needs.

2002-2005 – President, John Mason

Hills Chamber of Commerce introduced the first ever website for a chamber. We successfully lobbied for an extension of the boundary from Gladstone Rd to Windsor Rd and during this time we saw increased membership and turnover, as well as a greater contribution from our partners. The installation of an ADSL internet capability for businesses in Norwest Business Park, and the removal of traffic bottleneck on Old Northern Rd were big achievements during this period, in addition to ratifying a new constitution for the chamber and subsequently adopting a Code of Conduct.

2001-2002 – President, Rob Sawtell

Member numbers continued to rise. Among our achievements during this time, we launched the first Hills Chamber website and we hosted our IT month.

2000 – President Jim Taggart

Our president for only eight months, Jim Taggart worked tirelessly to revitalise the chamber, and encourage new members to join.

1998-2000 – President, Mike Yeo

We enjoyed a successful two years under Mike Yeo’s leadership.

Pre-1998 – President, Geoff Strong

The Hills Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on May 13, 1992, following the amalgamation of Baulkham Hills and Kellyville Chambers of Commerce, and drew its membership from all over the Hills Shire. Our member numbers quickly grew to over 100, from a diverse group of business owners. Our key objective at this time was to gain access for all businesses to government, at both state and local level and to promote opportunities for networking to assist in the growth and success of members’ businesses.

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